A Conversation with Taj Kaynor

Redshirt-freshman Taj Kaynor has moved to defensive tackle. The 6-foot-6 former defensive end is in the mix with Brandon Nicolas, Marcus Jones and George Hypolite. Inside, a conversation with Kaynor, plus some notes — including one about Martane Freeman — from Tuesday's practice.

BSN: How has practice been going?
Taj Kaynor:
Practice is going good. I like being in the mix with everything. It's kind of cool.

BSN: How has it been practicing in the cold? It was snowing tonight.
Actually, we just buckle up and get out there and go. I'm not cold at all. We're just always moving from period to period. That's one thing that took us a while to get used to — Coach is just rapid fire with everything. Station to station. We never stop moving. I was actually a little hot out there.

BSN: You look a little bit bigger than you did last August. How much are you weighing?
Right now I'm fluctuating between 255 and 260. I'm trying to get up, but summer to 270, by the season to 280. I'm trying to get that big.

BSN: So are you moved inside to defensive tackle permanently?
Yeah, I'm officially a 3 tech. That's all I'm practicing right now. I'm officially inside.

BSN: How do you feel about that?
I'm cool with it. I just want to get on the field. I just want to make some plays and get on the field. So wherever they want me, wherever I can play, that's where I'm going to go. I've got no problem with that.

BSN: What are you going to do to get up to 280?
Oh, man. Mainly I'm living in Dal Ward, working out extra hard. They've got me eating all kinds of things. All kinds. I've got shakes where I put two metric (portions) in, then I put powder in. Those are like 800 calories in one shake, and I take about three of those a day.

I have three main meals and we have PowerBars. I probably eat four or five of those during classes. Then I have peanut butter and jellies at the end of the day. After dinner I try and order a pizza with my roommate. Anything I can do, I'm just trying to get the weight one.

BSN: That's a lot of college kids' dream – to get to eat that much.
That's what everyone is telling me. I'm like, ‘I'm having a hard time getting this weight on.' And they say, ‘I wish I had that problem.'

BSN: What's the biggest thing to learn inside as far as technique?
At end, you take a few steps and try to work with your quickness. When you're playing inside, you're playing against grown men. It's right here right now. I'm playing against guys like Brian Daniels and Mark Fenton – they just pound on you. They're a lot more powerful. You have to be more accurate with your hands playing inside. You've got to try to move people, shake them. On the end, you just rip and try to beat them to the outside.

But the o-line, they're getting me ready. The vets are helping me a lot. And I'm just taking it from there.

• The Buffs continue to practice in adverse weather. It was hovering near 32 degrees at the start of Tuesday's session, and snow was flying by the end, about 7:20 p.m. But players aren't complaining, and Dan Hawkins is using it as a gauge of his team's mental toughness.

• Basketball player Martane Freeman just finished his hoops eligibility last week, but the former juco transfer has another year of athletic eligibility. He was dressed in a football jersey and was at practice Tuesday. He will play wide receiver for the Buffaloes next fall. He must practice out of pads one more session (Thursday), then will be eligible to start suiting up in pads after spring break.

The 6-foo-7 Freeman played quarterback and safety in high school. He said he's 198 pounds right now, but plans to put on 10 to 15 pounds. Hawkins said because the CU offense is "segmented," there is room for specialty players in it. In other words, if Freeman — probably the fastest player on this past season's basketball team — shows he can excel at a certain type of play, he could be utilized. Hawkins said he liked how Freeman hustled in last week's NIT loss to Old Dominion, a game in which you couldn't say that about every CU player.

• Senior cornerback Gerett Burl has missed the first two weeks of spring ball as he was in the doghouse for unspecified reasons. Hawkins said he had a "come to Jesus" meeting with Burl and that he will be allowed to practice after spring break.

Vance Washington's injury, which he suffered Friday, is a torn ACL. He'll have surgery. Hawkins said there's still a chance he could play in the fall.

• The team will conduct its first scrimmage of spring Thursday, beginning at 5 p.m. Hawkins said because of low numbers on offensive line, they won't be able to "grind" as much as he'd like, but they'll still be able to get some things done. They'll work about 20-25 live plays, and add in some situational stuff, plus some special teams work.

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